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I’m one of those people that can’t seem to do any work at home. I’ll constantly find other “worthwhile” things to do like clean the house, read recipes, check Facebook, or go for a run. Really, anything that serves as an adequate distraction. Silence also drives me crazy. I need some kind of background noise that will help me focus on my work. Music is sometimes a good option, but if I know the words to the song I’ll end up singing along. Clearly I have a very particular environment that I need to be in in order to be productive.

This month I’ve been working hard on trying to finish a chapter in my thesis. It’s a bit of a dry topic: research methodology, so finding reasons not to work on it is pretty easy. On days that I really need to work, I’ll make my way over to a coffee shop and give it a go. The din of the espresso machines, the low murmurs of the other patrons, and the mellow music are exactly what I need.

Near our place, there are two Starbucks locations across the street from each other (isn’t that so bizarre? Yet, they’re always busy!) so that’s been my work place of choice for the last couple of weeks. When I go, I usually order a big cup of caffeine (coffee or an Americano) and a sweet treat like the Island Oat Bars. I’ve heard these bars are only found in BC. They were originally from a bakery on Vancouver Island, hence the name. But recently, they’ve changed their suppliers and now the oat bars just don’t seem to taste the same and they’re more expensive too. So I decided to give these oat bars a shot at home and I must say, they turned out fantastic.

Oat Bars (like Starbucks)
Inspired by Genius Bread Recipes Blog
My version is quite an overhaul from Genius Bread’s version but it was a good go-to recipe to start with in order to figure out the basic ingredients. As well, my version is not as sweet as the original ones from Starbucks and probably a fraction of the calories. It’s also gluten-free (if you use pure oats, see below for details!), in case you have Celiacs or a sensitivity. I made the bars quite simple because my goal was to try and copy the ones I use to get from Starbucks. But you can easily make it your own by adding cranberries, almonds, and/or a drizzle of white chocolate (that may be another post in the future!).

2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 c. butter
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. corn syrup
2 tbsp. honey
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 tbsp. water

In a blender or food processor, pulse 1 cup of rolled oats until it’s a course flour consistency. Mix in a large bowl with the other cup of oats and the cinnamon. Set aside.

In a small saucepan, over medium-low heat, melt the butter. Then add salt, corn syrup, honey, brown sugar, vanilla, and 1 tbsp. of water. Let it come to a boil and then turn the heat down to low, cooking it for another minute or so. Then pour over the dry ingredients and mix until everything is combined. If the mixture feels a little dry or if you want softer bars, add one more tbsp. of water.

Pour into a lightly greased 8×8 inch pan and press down until it’s compact and even. Let it cool for at least 1 hour in the fridge and then cut into desired portions. Store with pieces of parchment paper in between the bars in an airtight container.

**As a lovely reader mentioned, some regular oats can have gluten so to ensure a truly gluten free oat bar, make sure to get pure oats. Visit here for a list of companies that produce pure oats. Thanks Jacquie!